They say that variety is the spice of life, and when it comes to temperatures, Mount Kilimanjaro can – and will – offer you everything from extreme cold to very hot. The different and quite distinct climate zones are one reason why climbing Kilimanjaro is so special, so unique.
You will encounter them all as you transition from the start of your climb to the snowy summit. There are few places on Earth where, in such a short space of time, you will experience such extremes.
In total, there are five zones to consider, and as you climb you will notice the changes in vegetation, the falling temperature and the decrease in precipitation.
Of course, the weather changes according to the season, though it is worth noting that temperatures do not vary enormously across the year. Which month you choose for your visit will affect your experience, however, so let us look at these in more detail.
Weather on mount Kilimanjaro in January and February
These two months at the start of the calendar year are usually the hottest and fall right in the middle of one of Tanzania’stwo dry seasons. You can expect plenty of sun, but with some cloud in the sky, particularly in the afternoon. Mornings and at night-time, it is clearer. The weather conditions ensure that, underfoot, the trail should be dry.
Would we recommend these months for you to take on your Kilimanjaro challenge? Yes, the general weather conditions and a lack of rain make a January or February climb ideal, though these are popular months and consequently busy.
Weather on mount Kilimanjaro in March
The dry season sometimes lasts into the first half of March, but this month marks the start of the so-called ‘Long Rains.’ In the second half of the month, you might experience a totally dry day, or a day of endless rain! As rain means clouds, so your Tanzanian sky will not be as clear as it is in the dry-season months. And of course, underfoot trail conditions are likely to be muddy at some altitudes, with more snow and ice at higher levels.
Easy Travel does not strongly recommend March as a month for climbing Kilimanjaro. True, you will avoid the crowds, but as well as the chance of getting wet, your otherwise spectacular views as you gain altitude may well be obscured by cloudy conditions.
Weather on mount Kilimanjaro in April and May
April and May see the continuation of those ‘Long Rains’ – which will normally last through until mid-June. In fact, these are the very wettest of Tanzanian months. Once again, climbers can expect cloudy skies, slightly lower temperatures and muddy conditions on the trail.
Easy Travel does not strongly recommend April and May as months for climbing Kilimanjaro. Again, you will avoid the crowds at this time of year, but as well as the chance of getting wet, your otherwise spectacular views as you gain altitude may well be obscured by cloudy conditions.
Weather on mount Kilimanjaro in June and July
In mid-June, the long rains In Tanzania come to an end and we also experience the coolest months of the year. The sky will usually be clear and sunny, the mountain trail will be dry – there is very little rainfall at this time of the year.
As a result of all the above, conditions for climbing Africa’s highest mountain are excellent and these months are highly recommended by Easy Travel.
Weather on mount Kilimanjaro in August, September and October
Temperatures start to rise slightly in August, September and October, which also represent the three driest months of the year. Climbers in these months will be rewarded with sunny skies and beneath their feet, lovely dry trail conditions.
All of the above combine to make these three months superb times for an ascent of Kilimanjaro. They are highly recommended by Easy Travel.
Weather on mount Kilimanjaro in November and December
The ‘Short Rains’ start at the beginning of November and last until the start of December. During this time, you might experience a week of rain or a week without any rain. While the skies are often clear at the beginning and end of the day, it can be cloudy in between. Rain often falls in the afternoons. Naturally, the precipitation causes wet and muddy conditions on the trail.
November is therefore not a month we would recommend for your ascent up Kilimanjaro; the short rains end during December. By mid-month (15th December) the short rains will end and the dry season begins. Many trekkers favour this time and choose to climb over this holiday period.
To give you an idea of the temperatures you will experience during the climb, note that it is often between 21 and 27 degrees Celsius at the base of the mountain. (That’s between 70 and 81 degrees Fahrenheit.) As we have said, temperatures do not vary massively through the year, but they certainly do drop with altitude as you ascend through Kilimanjaro’s five distinct ecological zones.
For example, contrast the base temperatures above with those experienced at the summit. Here you could encounter anything between -7 to -29 degrees Celsius (that’s between 20 and -20 degrees Fahrenheit) at night-times. And yes, those really are minuses, so you need to be ready for very cold nights. And don’t forget that the weather is extremely unpredictable.